Summer Vegetable Paella

My Goddaughter, Chloe, came and stayed with us for 6 weeks this summer   She had come back from NZ to go to some weddings and whilst away had taken the decision to become a vegan

My husband was somewhat aghast at the prospect of eating a plant based diet for the duration of her visit but gamely said he’d give it a go.

I am glad that he did because we discovered some new recipes that are set to be family favourites – not for when we want to eat vegan – but because they are simply delicious!!  In fact if you served some of them like this paella I bet the first thing to cross your mind would not be the fact that this is vegan dish Continue reading

Sue’s Parmesan Shortbread

The “Sue” in question is my sister-in-law who lives in Devon and who stayed with me for a week recently. At about 6-30pm we would sit outside in the sunshine and have a drink with some of these before having our evening meal. She couldn’t believe they were so easy to make, and that I kept a roll of the unbaked dough in the fridge ready to slice off and bake when the fancy took me.  (My record for keeping the dough in fridge is a week as I have baked and eaten it by then!) Continue reading

Spiced Runner Bean Piccalilli

If you grow your own runner beans you will know that they are a bit like growing courgettes – they are the gift that keeps on giving   Just a few vines and you have runner beans all summer long

As much as I love them there comes a point when there are protests at the thought of runner beans for supper yet again (let alone for breakfast and lunch) and even friends and neighbours don’t want a bag of them.  So I needed ideas as to how to deal with the surplus   I have frozen some (strung and cut to size, blanched for two minutes, then open freeze on trays so beans don’t clump, before putting into small bags to be cooked from frozen later) but frozen beans aren’t as good as fresh and don’t seem right in the depths of January so freezing has limited appeal.  So what else can be done with the surplus? Continue reading

Irish Chocolate Cake

Everybody needs a good chocolate cake that they can conjure up to appreciative groans and lip licking smiles.  Because, let’s face it, there are times when only chocolate will do!  As for the Irish part well that would be the use of either buttermilk or Guinness (depending on preference/age group) both of which are very Irish ingredients and each giving a very tender crumb to the cake.

You can have this cake with a cuppa or as a pudding served with creme fraiche.  You can decorate the ganache icing anyway you choose.  Or leave it plain.

Of the two “Irish” ingredients well, If you choose to use Guinness it gives the chocolate a slightly spicy, sophisticated kick and if you use buttermilk it becomes slightly lighter and fresher   As well as Guinness/buttermilk and chocolate the cake uses dark brown sugar to give an extra fudgey taste. Continue reading

Banana Icecream

This has got to be the easiest icecream ever   Its almost instant and very tasty (I promise I am not just saying that because it’s good for you!). It’s also vegan, raw, paleo, refined sugar free, gluten free and dairy free so you can cover almost all dietary requirements!  To make it you just need a freezer and a food processor or blender   It sounds too good to be true?  Well prepare to be amazed Continue reading

Mediterranean Salad

I love this salad with crusty bread for lunch as the combination of flavours is sooo good.  It’s great as a starter, or serve it with simply grilled or BBQ’d meat, poultry or fish – but you do need the bread to mop up the juices.  If you think salads are boring then this will change your mind as this Salad positively oozes sunshine and sings of summer holidays in the Med Continue reading

Banana Bread Muffins

My friend Rachel – she of Christmas cake icing fame – asked me to blog about what I do with very ripe bananas.  This banana bread recipe is the first of two things I do and certainly the more traditional of the two.   The second, which will follow tomorrow, is an almost instant banana icecream which is vegan (though you’d never know it as it tastes so creamy) and it’s free from refined sugar

It can be baked as a loaf or in muffin cases.  I invariably choose to do it in individual muffin cases as it freezes so beautifully and can be microwaved for a minute from frozen to taste as fresh and delicious as it was when it came from the oven which is really useful.  Plus, if you call it a muffin it means that it somehow is ok to have what is essentially a cake for breakfast (as well as with a cuppa or anytime really)!  In fairness it does keep in a tin for a few days but as this recipe makes 2 small loaves or 12 individual Muffins.   Freezing the extras works for me otherwise I find myself saying “just one more….” Continue reading

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